A new permanent Laphroaig expression? That’s an exciting idea, although I hope this whisky is worthy of an addition to the distillery’s core lineup. The basic idea behind this release is to honor the skills and traditions Laphroaig distillers have passed on generation to generation. In other words, they’re referring to the use and blending of different types of barrels.
Laphroaig Lore is made up of variety of barrels:
- First-fill ex-bourbon casks followed by a second maturation in virgin European oak casks
- First-fill ex-Oloroso sherry butts
- First-fill and refill quarter casks
- Refill ex-Laphroaig stock (casks that previously matured Laphroaig)
Although Laphroaig Lore carries no age statement, Distillery Manager John Campbell says he used whiskies aged between 7 and 21 years to craft this blend. It’s being called “the richest of the rich.” Let’s check out the liquid.
The nose on Laphroaig Lore is heavy with grilled pineapple, spiced mango and a crisp bonfire upfront, and notes of salted dark chocolate, vanilla, orange peel and licorice just past that. A blast of peat starts things off on the palate alongside fresh orange juice. This quickly develops into creamy malt, spicy cinnamon, toffee, brine, seaweed and sherried fruit notes. The ashy smoke in this whisky slowly increases as you approach the slightly dry finish. Oddly it isn’t as long as I’d expect from Laphroaig, but then again there are quarter cask-matured whiskies here. All that wood contact may have added drying tannins. A bit of smoke and sweet malt are left lingering.
I’m a sucker for peated sherried whiskies, and this one fits the bill, if only a bit. That smoky fruit flavor combination is killer stuff. Adding to the complexity is that spiciness provided by those quarter casks. Those first-fill sherry butts do give this whisky a richness not normally found some of their expressions, but there is a crispness that cuts right through. This is a really nice expression of Laphroaig. I’m glad this is a permanent addition to their core lineup and not a limited edition, one-time release.